A common theme I’m hearing these days is around the mindfuck of transformational leaders in relationship with online business. Because online business is where so much noise is, it’s easy to get sucked into the quicksand of believing that this is how you must express your sacred gifts and live your purpose. Next thing you know, you’ve purchased countless trainings from “experts” and have learned how to do “fast action bonuses” to motivate people to buy your stuff, how to come up with your slick and sexy title so your work stands out amidst the noise, and you’re on Facebook every day with “vulnerable shares” that end with a call to action.
I mean, maybe that’s your joy. But there are some of us for whom that lifestyle is not the soul-aligned path of joyful expression and artistry.
So what is the alternative?
The first thing to understand is the different levels of consciousness that are expressed in these forms of marketing. From the consumerist paradigm, in which the purpose and intention is to get people to consume more (goods, products, programs, information, videos, lessons, modules etc.) then of course those tactics are aligned.
But if your work is around helping people restore trust in themselves, live from their authentic essence, and transcend the conformist mentality of mainstream society, then it’s up to you to find what your version of trusting in yourself, living from your authentic essence, and transcending mainstream tactics looks like for you.
This can feel challenging because you don’t have role models for being YOU. It’s just you and your soul and a blank white canvas of possibility. All your stuff comes up. “What if I don’t get it right? What if nobody pays attention? What if it doesn’t work? Etc.”
But the truth is, you’re here to connect with your people. And you know how to connect with people, in a way that feels real and right for you. You may have to leave your comfort zone initially, sure, but once you get that you’re just here to connect with your peeps and have the most fun doing it, then your creative energy gets liberated to tap into what that looks like for you.
Real connection, in my experience, doesn’t happen in online interactions. Online conversations allow a form of connection, but for me those connections don’t touch the depth of heart and soul recognition that is one of the exquisite joys of being human. For me, my soul work happens when I’m in sacred space with someone, which happens either in person or in private or small group conversations. When I started my coaching practice, I did all of my coaching over the phone, which meant I quickly developed skills to “hear” between the words and attune to a person intuitively – which was also a laboratory for my Quantum Play methodology, in which we would move together so I could use my body as an antenna to sense what was happening for them, even if I couldn’t see them. So these days, phone or video or in person are all satisfactory; it’s the quality of presence that matters.
I was coaching a team last year who had been trained in the “15 minute discovery call” approach to enrolling clients, and they were shocked to hear that I don’t meet with anyone for less than 90 minutes, sometimes 2 hours, if we are considering working together. That is the time it takes me to feel the breadth and depth of who they are and what they are bringing to the table, to assess the vision of what’s being presented and how I may be able to guide them or not. (Those who are not a match, I can tell in about a minute, so those conversations are short. 😊) I am not in this to “get clients.” I am here to work deeply with those whose soulwork is calling for the medicine that I bring, and it is a sacred contract to me. This is one difference between a “transactional” model of coaching and a “sacred space” model of coaching.
My clients have never come from “marketing,” either. They’ve come from me following my interests and passions and going to places where I meet people – not from an intention of “networking” but from genuine interest in what I’m exploring. From there, I find that I have a rapport with a few of the people and we strike up meaningful conversations, which lead to a desire for more conversations, which sometimes leads to a “hey, what would it be like to work with you?” inquiry on their part, and then we go there.
I don’t coach because I’m “running a coaching business.” I coach because it’s part of who I am and it brings me tremendous joy and fulfillment to support my peeps to embody their power and purpose and joy in ways that are meaningful to them. Anytime I brought a “try” energy to getting more clients, as marketers suggest is required, not only did my joy plummet into the dregs of drudgery, but it was like a magnetic forcefield that ensured that all are repelled. Life has always provided feedback as to what is truly my path and what is not.
This style of “creating clients” is not for everyone, obviously. It comes from a place of knowing that I always rendezvous with my perfect client in perfect timing, and that as I move through the world, I am partnered with an intelligence greater than myself, that is lining up the people that I’m here to serve. And it always has.
The energetics of “transformational coaching” demand that we live in full soul integrity with our values and talents. Which means, if you value and are nourished by deep connection, then creating deep connection is how you’ll create clients too. You can’t expect to show up one way in your “marketing” in hopes of making enough noise to be seen, while actually you like to connect with people in a very different way.
It’s like having a gourmet restaurant in which you love serving organic micro-greens grown with love in your garden, tossed with a homemade dressing that starts with a balsamic reduction that you stirred on the stove for an hour, topped with pomegranate seeds that you lovingly removed, one by one, from the pith, and soaked and sprouted sunflower seeds that you tended to for the last three days of sprouting. And then to get people to come into your restaurant, you write a sign on the door that says “SALAD HERE,” and offer samples of iceberg lettuce.
No. Your way of connecting with people is part of the artistry of your soul. It’s up to you to honor and cherish your art, and express it in full alignment with who you are and how you operate. You do not have to fit into someone else’s box of consumer-inspired tactics. And of course, you are always free to adopt any and all tactics that work for you, that you build into the ecosystem of your work because it’s the right move for you.
Along the way, you will likely experiment with many strategies and tactics suggested by well-meaning experts, and you will discover more and more about who you are and what conditions you must create for you to do your best work. None of this is time or energy wasted.
But at some point, you will come to the point where you just decide to drop in and trust yourself. To say “fuck it” and do it the way you would if you’d never heard of online business or marketing and were just plunked on the planet to do what you do with your peeps. You’d meet people in your own way, strike up conversations in your own way, create experiences that light you up, and share your art because it’s just who you are.
What if you just stopped trying so hard?
What if you could let your “business” be the natural expression of who you really are?
What if you could trust yourself and trust life, as you blaze the trail that YOU are meant to walk?
Remember, living your purpose is supposed to be fun.